history

history


Knowledge, Education & Wisdom in Colonial America

knowledge July 12th, 2019

Philosopher/psychologist and distinguished man of letters, Daniel N. Robinson, says much about knowledge, wisdom, and education in the citizenry and the founders at the time of the Declaration of Indpendence and the crafting of the U.S. Constitution. It is very enlightening, and he takes pains to connect the state of affairs then with our horrible political, social, and educational predicament that is so clearly exemplified by corporations, Donald Trump as President, and social media bickering today. It’s not a pretty picture, but one worth taking a long, hard look at. I then follow up his incisive commentary on the Founders with quotes about knowledge, wisdom, and education in modern America. Recall that education is not just about keeping the economy rolling: “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty,” wrote the main architect of the Constitution, James Madison. And this is very important; as modern progressive author, Thom Hartmann puts it, “We need to begin paying attention to the wisdom of the Founders and Framers [of the United States] if our country is to survive.”

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Will Durant Quotes About the Meaning of Life

quotes about the meaning of life June 30th, 2018

Will Durant was one of America’s greatest intellectuals. He lived from 1885 to 1981. In his long, varied, and distinguished career, he taught, wrote, earned a doctorate in philosophy, and came to know many of the most important and elusive truths. His interest in history was as salient than his love of philosophy, for he is best known for his book the massive, 11-volume set The Story of Civilization, his take on significant historical happenings and patterns (which he published with his lifelong interlocutor, his wife Ariel). They won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the work. Only slightly less remarkable was The Story of Philosophy, which detailed the lives and works of a dozen of the most impactful philosophers throughout history, such as Plato and Nietzsche. Durant was truly a remarkable man; we are so lucky he lived to the ripe old age he did, and that he was a philosopher, historian, teacher and writer – and not a banker or a tennis player or a gambler. This blog is about Will Durant’s quotes about the meaning of life from his superb book on the subject.

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6th/Final Ch. Summary: In Defense of A Liberal Education

liberal education January 15th, 2018

Finally, after taking 10,000 words + to summarize and review author and historian Fareed Zakaria’s book, In Defense of A Liberal Education, this is the summary of the final chapter (6). It is entitled “In Defense of Today’s Youth”. It is entitled “In Defense of Today’s Youth”. Much of this impressive book is about critical thinking, the history of liberal education, knowledge (and its benefits). In general, like many before him, Zakaria posits there is a fundamental difference between the teaching and learning of facts such as names, dates, formulae, and vocabulary on the one hand, and the more basic, utilitarian, secular-humanistic, classic, fundamental approach of critical thinking. Indeed, learning to think is a profoundly valuable asset we would do well to inculcate in our children. This last chapter primarily concentrates on how liberal education fits in with the advances and challenges that this new millennium entails specifically, “youth today”. Ipads, “the Me Generation,” and “the rat race” are explored.

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Review of Ch. One: “In Defense of a Liberal Education”

liberal education December 28th, 2017

Liberal education is not typically prized by parents. “What you are not supposed to do is study the liberal arts. Around the world, the idea of a broad-based ‘liberal’ education is closely tied with the United States and its great universities and colleges. But in America itself, a liberal education is out of favor.” This is a sad and even ironic state of affairs. In the wonderful, well-researched, short but stout book In Defense of a Liberal Education, noted columnist and historian Fareed Zakaria, called “the most influential foreign policy advisor of his generation” by Esquire, laments that the humanities are no longer as popular as they were in America’s more prosperous decades. As manufacturing is under severe threat and jobs are increasingly lost to foreign countries or automation, Zakaria maintains that “to succeed today, you need creativity, lateral thinking, communication skills, and, more than anything, the ability to keep learning – precisely the gifts of a liberal education.” What follows is a summary and review of chapter one of this engaging book.

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True History: Learning from Our Past (V&E-10)

history November 14th, 2017

In this discussion, we will explore the stories and recollections of persons who have made a minor or major contribution to United States history, fomented progress in one of our many historical struggles, and/or exemplified values and virtues that often belie their marginal social position. These unique “voices” take the form of quotations, essays, narratives, testimonies, and historical records that have been preserved, passed on, or uncovered. My distinguished guest co-authored the book Voices of a People’s History of the United States with Howard Zinn, and has also collaborated with Noam Chomsky on his awesome website. Read on to learn more about the history of the United States you probably didn’t hear about in 6th grade.

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Ancient Greek Quotes (and Roman, Too)

ancient Greek quotes October 24th, 2017

The Athenians, Spartans, and Romans were remarkable in so many ways. Certainly, one way in which these societies excelled is in writing down laws, establishing and testing the limits of democracy and other forms of government, and in oration/theater/philosophy. We have myriad ancient Greek quotes, Roman proverbs, writings, meditations, insights, and bits of wisdom that survived the ages. This is saying a lot because much has been lost or destroyed in the last 2,000 years. It is a rich cultural heritage that Athens bestowed, and there is much of interest in the Spartan and Roman civilizations as well. Add in Macedonians like Alexander and Aristotle, and you have a very valuable vein of knowledge, discovery, and even proto-science. Below you will find a beautiful array of ancient Greek quotes (and Roman, too) on all manner of subject, including philosophy, personal growth, wisdom, politics, glory, courage, and strength. 

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Surviving These Times: Howard Zinn Quotes

Howard Zinn Quotes September 14th, 2017

Happily for him, my man Howard Zinn never lived to see Donald Trump ascend to the throne. He was no stranger to demagogues, self-serving hypocrites, and pretenders – for he fought Hitler (like, literally), was a leader in the Civil Rights movement, and every morning had to read the papers while George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Lyndon Johnson were president. He fought the good fight for decades. Finally, his body gave out. But his mind, during most of his long life, was strong, adroit, and productive. Here are some Howard Zinn quotes (and some allied others) to help us all deal with the presidency of Donald Trump. He would want us to look to wise guides and find within ourselves the strength to resist, to organize, and to non-violently protest. If he were alive today, he would say that we will prevail.

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Social Justice: Based in Historical Truth

social justice May 3rd, 2017

I was a little discomfited by Daniel Lattier’s derision of social justice in his account of an elementary school in Minnesota which has made some noble attempts at teaching children about historical truth, such as the idea of “white privilege.” I believe this position shows a lack of insight into the way America works, will shortchange children of all races, and will perpetuate the status quo. It’s not terribly surprising, though. Consider: “Once you follow a path of nonviolence and social justice, it won’t take you long before you come into conflict with the culture, with the society” ~ Martin Sheen. Lattier wrote in Not All Parents Want Their Children to be Social Justice Warriors:

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Voices of a People’s History: Anthony Arnove Interviewed

April 10th, 2017

Anthony Arnove, Ph.D. has done work with Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky – two of the heavy hitters in the fields of history, progressive politics, and anti-war struggles. Aiming for truth, he and Zinn present essays about values and ethics that are really something else to read in this wonderful book full of wisdom! It’s basically a

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Author Interview: Voices of a People’s History

April 5th, 2017

The late, great Howard Zinn interviewed! Professor Emeritus of History at Boston University, Howard Zinn, the author of over a dozen books on America’s past and present, the recipient of many prestigious awards for truth-telling and his wisdom, and legendary activist discussed issues of great importance to those who are pursuing an ethical, just, and

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